Two films from the far-east catch the eye among the new films released this week.
The list of new films released this week may seem rather poor ahead of a slew of forthcoming summer blockbusters, but two films from Asia are worthy of attention.
Chinese director Yi’nan Diao won the Golden Bear at Berlin for his noir thriller Black Coal, Thin Ice (photo). The story will be familiar to fans of noir, featuring a disgraced hard drinking, heavy smoking detective seeking redemption, hints of corruption and romance with a femme fatale.
As its title suggests, the film is set in a cruel winter in an industrial city, and the bleak landscape’s captured by cinematographer Dong Jinsong makes the film beautifully eerie, while Diao’s direction, dominated by social realism, leaves audiences with plenty of time to take in what Luke Buckmaster in The Guardian describes as “the film's subtle achievements and atmospheric complexity.”
On a more energetic note, Welsh director Gareth Evans follows up his 2011 martial arts classic The Raid with a film packed with even more violence and mayhem. The Raid 2 sees the hero of the original film, undercover cop Rama, infiltrate a crime gang by going to prison.
While it lacks the taught claustrophobia of the first film--which was set almost entirely in a Jakarta high-rise--the film features a series of “gobsmacking” action set pieces, any one of which, in the words of Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian, “would be the centrepiece of a lesser movie.”
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